I have never enjoyed general elections — and have never voted positively in one. Sometimes I spoiled my ballot, as a protest against the injustice of being asked to hold my nose and pick the least worst of a god awful bunch. Sometimes I couldn’t be bothered. But having voted to Leave in the referendum in 2016, I feel completely different this year.
Even in 2017 General Election, those of us who had voted to Leave were still convinced we’d get our political demands recognised — I was complacent. But this Thursday is giving me a hernia — even in a seat as immovable as mine in Hackney North, I’m completely torn.
One thing is clear — I cannot and will not vote for a party that further jeopardises the democratic will. Voting for the Labour Party’s insulting pretend Brexit deal (on the condition we beg for it in a referendum) or the Liberal Democrat’s kamikaze assault on democracy is not an option. To do so would not only deny the value of voting itself by undermining Brexit, it would be one more stat to bolster the opinions of sneering idiots like Hugh Grant who took a break from his foppish existence to inform the British public via the Today programme that we’d been sold a ‘pack of lies’.
But what’s not clear is whether sacrificing all my other political values and voting for the Conservatives (or the Brexit Party) would produce the result I want. Like millions of other voters, I want to leave the European Union — but that’s just the beginning of my plans. Boris Johnson’s ‘oven ready’, microwavable, quicker-than-making-angel-delight approach to Brexit is decidedly unappetising. For him, Brexit is merely a policy to ‘get done’ so that the Tories can go back to being the Tories.
As for Nigel Farage, his decision to guard against vote splitting instead of taking a principled stand has meant that no party now represents the so-called ‘hard’ (what I call full) Brexit option of leaving the European Union with no strings, no IOU’s and no bits left behind.
For what it’s worth, my own daydream of grasping political power (almost as delusional as Jo Swinson’s) would take the form of a radically left-wing populist approach. I want to smash the monarchy, not just because of the likes of Andrew but because of its elitist and defunct position in society. The House of Lords would have to go too. I wish just one party would take the democratic spirit of Brexit, harness the fear expressed in the demonisation of it from the British elite, and mount a radical movement to revolutionise British politics. If Brexit doesn’t happen, it will be catastrophic for the future of British democracy. But if it gets watered down by Tory nonsense, it might not be worth it at all.
But, much like an inflated ego, I’ve had to pop a giant hole in that dream. This general election isn’t going to be about making positive choices, it’s about weighing up tactical voting vs principled stances and seeing which one convinces you most. It doesn’t feel good — but then again, politics rarely does. As for my little nugget of political power — I still haven’t decided who, if anyone, can have mine.